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How to Select the Right Plumbing Trade School near Glendale Arizona

Glendale Arizona plumber fixing kitchen sink faucetThe initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Glendale AZ. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are so many factors to evaluate. For example, many potential students will begin by searching for schools that are nearby their home. When they have identified some that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are important, they are not the only things that should be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your ultimate judgment when selecting a plumbing trade school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are available.

Becoming a Plumber

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Almost everyone at one time or another has needed the services of a professional plumber.  It may have been due to a leaky faucet or perhaps a hot water heater needed to be replaced.  Plumbers provide a valuable service for the maintenance of both commercial and residential buildings.  They are skilled tradesmen who are trained in the installation, repair and replacement of plumbing systems.  These systems include pipes, plumbing fixtures, water based heating and cooling, sewage removal and sprinklers.  A local Glendale AZ plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Glendale AZ plumbers begin their careers as an Apprentice.  Apprenticeships are often completed in tandem with a formalized plumbing training program.  Apprentices are typically paid but unlicensed and work under the guidance of a licensed plumber during working hours and attend plumber training classes at night.  The second phase of their career begins once the apprenticeship and the training program have been completed.
  • Journeyman Plumber. Once the apprenticeship has been completed as well as any required training program, application for Journeyman Plumber licensing can be made.  Most often licensing is controlled by the state but can be managed more locally at the county or city level.  A Journeyman license will only be issued after all requirements have been met, including a passing score on the licensing exam. Even though a Journeyman is more knowledgeable and experienced than an Apprentice, they generally must continue to be supervised, in this case by a Master Plumber.
  • Master Plumber. After attaining the necessary work experience and completing any additional educational requirements, the Journeyman can apply to become a Master Plumber.  Once again a passing score must be achieved on the licensing exam before a license will be issued.  There are several benefits to advancing to the Master Plumber level, including earnings at the highest pay level, unsupervised working conditions, and the ability to start and own a business.  Master Plumbers may also hire and supervise both Journeymen and Apprentices.

As a technical field requiring a high level of skill and competence, plumbing can take years of both training and experience to master.  As a consequence, the best opportunity for success for a new Apprentice in Glendale AZ is to enroll in a plumbing technology program that will provide the comprehensive quality training needed to embark on this challenging career.

Plumbing Degree and Certificate Options

There are several educational options available near Glendale AZ to receive the necessary training to begin your career as a plumber.  As far as the schools offering programs, you can enroll in a trade, technical or vocational school as well as a local community college.  The programs offered will vary, but in general the shortest is the certificate program which will focus on the fundamentals and generally take about a year to complete.  An Associate Degree will take 2 years to complete and will provide a more comprehensive education.  There are some colleges that do offer a Bachelor Degree in plumbing technology, which are 4 year programs and much broader in nature.  When choosing a school and program, naturally the completion time and the cost will be important factors.  Tuition can vary significantly among the various schools and colleges and for some private schools can be quite expensive.  State schools and community colleges typically offer their programs at the lower end of the tuition scale.  However, when making your comparisons, keep in mind that many schools offer financial aid and even scholarships to help offset some of the financial burden.  So be sure to find out what is available for each school and program before making your final decision.

Things to Ask Plumber Technical Schools

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When you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Because there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Glendale AZ region, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The first two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are other variables that need to be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess before enrolling in a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing vocational schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Glendale AZ school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, an additional way of determining if a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is typically controlled and regulated by state agencies, such as the Arizona Department of Education.  If you’re not sure, ask the school which state agency regulates its licensing and then check to ensure that it’s up to date.

How Long has the School been in Business?  Another means of determining the quality of a technical school is to find out how long it’s been in business.  The longer a school has been in operation, the more likely that its programs are highly rated and regarded. Conversely, schools that are not well regarded or that provide low quality training generally don’t stand the test of time.  However, keep in mind that even the best of Glendale AZ schools had to start from their first day of operation, so only use it as one of several qualifications for each school you are considering.

What are the School’s Completion and Placement Rates?  Ask the plumbing schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also signify that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Glendale AZ area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Numerous plumber technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Glendale AZ plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Glendale AZ plumbing company if they can give you some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Glendale AZ residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Glendale AZ and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Glendale AZ, check that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

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Choose the Right Glendale Plumber Training School

Picking the right plumber trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any plumber training that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Glendale AZ.